Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Available now - and open to offers.

It's that time of year when marketing, corporate communication and HR teams start reining in their budgets. That's not good for me as I'm reaching the end of a couple of projects that have kept me very well occupied through much of the year. As my billable time has dropped off I've filled up large chunks of the last fortnight pushing the PhD forward - interesting research and fun to do...but it doesn't pay the mortgage.

I'm in the market for new projects now - and while in the past I've been lucky enough to have a steady flow of clients heading in my direction, the fact that many of my long-term clients have moved out of in-house roles coupled with an influx of new talent into the market in which I operate mean I have to get out there and get my face and talents known again.

With budgets tight and a clamp-down on putting out work externally at two of my regular clients, I realise it's high time I started marketing myself again - and alsohave become painfully aware from a couple of recent conversations that it's an area I've been pretty lax on over the past few years.

The result is that few clients or contacts know me for the range of skills I offer - some know me as a trainer; others as a writer and editor; others still as primarily a facilitator and one is convinced I'm just a high-cost strategist without the skills to carry my plans through to implementation (how VERY far from the truth!!).

So, I've started writing my personal pitch again - just one step in a process that will also see me relaunch my online presence over the coming weeks, separating out my 'Leapfrog' presence from all those other areas of my life - children, sport and university in particular that have probably diluted my net rep and obscured my talents.

I'd almost prefer that someone else wrote my profile - I suppose that's what recommendations on LinkedIn are for - but even there, the recommendations I have tend to be for shades of my work, not the full rainbow. I actually find it uncomfortable shouting about myself, but realise that if I don't, the best work will simply pass me by.

So, step one as suggested by a long-term former colleague and client who said: "Sum yourself up in a page - but write in the third person as if you were describing someone else".

It reads:
Mark Shanahan

Mark has built a wealth of engagement experience through senior agency and in-house roles in the financial, hotels, telecoms, FMCG and manufacturing sectors. He has two decades of experience  in driving engagement in major change programmes in both private and public environment. His career includes a number of appointments and projects with an international remit and has been focused on building communication as an enabler of engagement from an add-on to a core skill in major organisations.

Strategic and tactical experience
Mark has been involved in a wide range of assignments. In recent years he has:

-        Designed and implemented a world-wide engagement strategy to support major change in one of the world’s leading hotel groups

-        Introduced and implemented an engagement framework into a new division of a leading telecommunications company – aligning Europe-wide communication to the direct needs of the business; building relationships with other business divisions and recruiting a manager to take up the reins in-house

-        Devised and implemented an engagement strategy to enable the seamless integration of a new acquisition into a major banking group

-        Facilitated the introduction of performance management into a major broadcaster

-        Managed communication, on an interim basis, for a major brewer as it was integrated into a larger drinks business

-        Audited communication in a large NHS Trust and then built a change plan to help unite a diverse and disparate workforce

-        Managed employee communication around a major job creation and relocation programme

-        Researched and produced a major national report for a recruitment group on workforce issues in the economic downturn

-        Facilitated  ‘state of the industry’ workshops nationally and internationally for senior finance and IT audiences

-        Devised and delivered bespoke training programmes for both new-entry and senior organisational communicators
-    Produced a social media toolkit for an organisation moving from a top-down channel approach to employee communications to a matrix view harnessing the possibilities of SharePoint 2010.
Management experience 

Mark has wide experience of managing in-house and virtual  communication teams, but has a particular strength in working with existing teams (from the front line to the Board) across a wide range of industries to build their communication expertise and confidence. His ‘can-do’ attitude and willingness to muck in and make things happen regularly marks him out as a seamless addition to clients’ management team.

Other qualifications and experience

Mark holds an MA in International Relations and a BA (Hons) in English. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Internal Communication and currently is working towards a PhD.            
It's a work in progress and I'd welcome feedback, but it's intended to move the perception of me away from being just a copywriter and editor. I love editorial work and have written more than 200 published corporate pieces this year - but it's just one string to my bow! I hope that highlighting my wider experience will open up one or two discussions that may lead to interesting projects where I can use different aspects of the knowledge and expertise I've gained working with some fantastic people in great (and not so great) organisations over the years.
The next step is to launch my new website, working with my son Rory who's a true digital native. With a bit of prodding, that will go live by the end of the month.
Over two decades I've built up probably as much organisational engagement knowledge as anyone in the field right now - but have shared it person to person and group to group. That has to change: and I guess the change starts now.  

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